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Thomas Jefferson’s Temple on the Hill

“The Capitol in the city of Richmond in Virginia is on the model of the temple of Erectheus at Athens, of Balbec, and of the Maison quarée of Nismes. All of which are nearly of the same form and proportions and are considered as the most perfect examples of cubic architecture.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

In 1785, two months into his tenure as the Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson agreed to design Virginia’s Capitol—from afar. Inspired by the Maison Carrée in Nimes, France, and based on classical Roman temple design, Jefferson’s Capitol, atop Shockoe Hill, is made of brick and covered with stucco. The Ionic columns on the South Portico contain the original pine tree center posts.

Today this building is the seat of state government in the commonwealth of Virginia and houses the oldest legislative body in the United States, the Virginia General Assembly. It is one of eleven capitols in the United States without an external dome.

The Virginia State Capitol introduced the Classical Revival temple style to the modern world. It has inspired countless public buildings for over 200 years. The Capitol was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

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Additional Photos by Betty Jones (BWJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 487 W: 0 N: 911] (3056)
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